Reader Steve Lucas sent me some interesting information to help me detail my recently-installed derail on the coal track in Port Rowan. (Thanks, Steve!) Here’s a look at what I’ve done.
In a comment on a previous post, Steve noted that in the 1950s, the CNR would add a “D” to the target on the switch stand if it lead to a track that had an independently-controlled derail (i.e.: one that was not linked mechanically to the switch stand). They would also add yellow paint to the switch stand handle to remind the crew that there was a derail to unlock and clear. I found a “D” in an old set of HO Scale Herald King decals for a CP Rail gondola. The “D” actually came from the decal set identifier, which now reads “GON OLA”. Thanks, Herald King!
It occurred to me as I was painting the handle of the S scale switch stand that I should mark the fascia-mounted turnout control for this switch in some way as well. Yellow paint wouldn’t do it, as most people don’t have to look too closely at the garden-scale switch stands to operate them. In fact, I can do it pretty much by feel. In any case, the turnout controls tend to be in a low-light situation when we’re operating the layout – in the shadow of the fascia itself. Therefore, I decided to mark the stand that controls the Coal Track switch in a tactile fashion, by adding a length of heat shrink tubing to the handle:
We’ll see if it feels different enough to remind people that there’s something special about the coal track siding. If not, I’ll cut this off and try something else – perhaps, a couple of narrow bands of heat shrink instead of a solid length of it.
First, at left, is a length of rail spiked to the ties at an angle. Some CNR info from Steve notes that if a derail is placed close to the clearance point of the spur, or at the base of a steep downgrade, a guardrail must be installed to help divert successfully-derailed equipment away from the main track that the derail protects. I assume in this case that the farm crossing will get torn up rather nicely by derailed equipment, but that the equipment will eventually hit that guard rail and stay off the main track. In any case, it’s a very visible detail. I bent and filed the ends of the rail in the same manner that one does a traditional guard rail for a turnout frog and then glued and spiked it in place. I’ve given the rail a first coat of paint and will weather it after the paint dries.
To the right of the crossing, a yellow post marks the location of the derail itself. I cut a five-foot piece of S scale 4″x4″ lumber and shaped the top into a four-sided point using an emery board. I drilled a hole in the base for a .015″ piece of wire, and a hole in the scenery to mount it.
The photo also shows that I’ve painted the derail. I gave the block a coat of yellow, but the rest of it is painted with Neo-Lube. I didn’t want to use regular paint here, since that could gum up the sliding piece. As the name suggests, Neo-Lube actually lubricates the operating mechanism.
I’m pleased with these little details. All that’s left to do is mount a control on the fascia and connect it to the mechanical switch machine under the derail. Until I get that done, I’ll leave this detail in the “clear” position: I don’t want to put any cars on the ties by accident!